Overpayment of Disability Benefits: Why You Don’t Want to Owe the Federal Government
Reporting all your income when filing for Social Security Disability is an important part of securing the benefits you deserve in light of your illness or injury. Misleading the federal government, purposefully or otherwise, carries consequences. Overpayment of benefits doesn’t just affect you, but also your loved ones in a number of financially uncomfortable ways. Our SSDI lawyers explain why it’s so important you remain truthful throughout the application process, and what can happen if you lie.
You’re Paying that Money Back
Once examiners discover the overpayment — and they usually do — you’re going to need to pay the difference back to the Social Security Administration. Image trying to pay back money you’ve already spent while being disabled and unable to work. That alone should be deterrent enough to prevent presenting false materials, but sadly, some only see the prospect of a bigger check rather than the potential consequences. You may have the right to appeal the SSA’s ruling of your receipt of benefits to which you weren’t entitled, but refusing to pay restitution without a formal hearing isn’t a wise decision.
Pursuit Even After Death
The last thing you want is to leave your grieving family with a financial headache. The federal government may pursue your estate to settle an overpayment of benefits even after your death. This action can lower the amount of money you’re available to leave your survivors and it can also reduce any disability/retirement benefits that may have continued after you pass on. Your loved ones may not know how to deal with repayment of your benefits, which can create problems with federal examiners should they miss regularly scheduled payments or close bank accounts that the government was automatically debiting those payments from.
Social Security Fraud is a Serious Offense
Intentionally providing false medical documentation or lying about the extent of your physical limitations to receive disability benefits may constitute fraud. Not only will you need to repay monies you received, but the crime may carry time in federal prison depending on the scope of your deception. SSDI benefits are for those who are hurt and can no longer work. Abuse of system weakens it across the board and damages public perception of the disabled. If you have questions about your eligibility, or the strength or your application, contact our law offices so our legal team can conduct a thorough review of your claim free of charge.
Leaving Your Spouse with the Check
Married couples are jointly responsible for any overpayment of benefits they receive from the Social Security Administration. Even though it was your error on the application that generated the larger-than-entitled sum, you and your spouse must come up with the money to repay it as a team. If both you and your spouse pass away, the SSA may seek to recover money owed through one of your entitled beneficiaries — your surviving children.
If you’ve suffered an injury or illness that doctors expect to prevent you from working for at least a year, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Call our attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options to obtain benefits. There’s no risk to you — if we don’t recover money on your behalf, you won’t owe us a cent for our services.